SOCIETY MURDERS

Two of Margaret Wales-King's five adult children become increasingly worried by the absence of their mother and her second husband Paul. No one has seen or spoken to them for several days and their immaculate home in an upmarket suburb of Melbourne is undisturbed - as if they went out for the evening and never came back.

Which is what happened. As the other siblings are alerted to the deepening crisis and call in the police, it is revealed the last to see the elderly couple was youngest son Matthew and his wife Maritza. They had invited them for dinner but after that - well they went home.

As the police discover the extent of Margaret's wealth they place all the children under suspicion. But one - Matthew - seems to know more than he's letting on. An unemployed hairdresser, he and his Chilean born wife are clearly the outsiders in the family. The police and his siblings apply the pressure.

When a press conference is called to seek help in finding the missing couple, the media and a curious public are gripped by the unfolding mystery. With its backdrop of wealth, social class and hints of family disunity the story becomes the talk of the town.

Then Margaret's luxury car is identified. Abandoned in another suburb. Empty. The media take on the case as their own, with investigative reporters desperate to uncover the next clue. Under an intense public spotlight the family begins to fracture with the four older siblings on one side and Matthew and his wife on the other. Rumours about his financial problems and Margaret's controlling nature find their way into the media driving the gossip mill on.

The police uncover a vital piece of evidence implicating Matthew but it's insufficient to convict. And then, by chance, the bodies of Margaret and Paul are discovered in a remote bushland by a passing ranger. As the family attempt to grieve, the trial by media intensifies with the finger of guilt pointing directly at Matthew. With her home under siege, Maritza reaches her limit. She privately seeks legal advice, confirming her husband's guilt in exchange for a lesser charge.

The funeral proceeds under the glare of the public spotlight. Matthew and Maritza attend but the body language on the steps of the church says it all - they have been ostracised by the rest of the family. And for Matthew they are his last hours of freedom. As his mother's ashes are buried he's arrested, making a full confession to her killing and that of his stepfather.

When the case reaches court Matthew is convicted as expected and Maritza walks free on a suspended sentence, a result that infuriates the family. Despite being hounded by the media during the investigation they turn to them to air their frustration with the justice system. But the case is closed leaving them once again misunderstood by the public and shattered by grief.